When thinking of UC Berkeley, the mind can’t help but wander toward our mascot and legendary icon, Oski. Of course, the Oski we know today is not exactly the Oski that’s always been around. After having taken a look back on the different versions and transformations of Oski, we’ve grown a larger appreciation for our favorite Golden Bear. From live bears to facial expressions and more, the Oski we have today truly went through a whole transformation to become the bear we love so much today. Here are our ratings of the different versions of Oski!
Oski prior to 1940s: RATE 0/10
A not-so-fun fact about UC Berkeley is that before Oski’s actual introduction in 1941, UC Berkeley used to use live bears as the mascot, with the first cub being “donated” in 1930. Similar to how we feel about live-animal circuses, bears belong in the wild and should not be used for commercial purposes and human entertainment. The use of live bears during Cal football games was truly not in the best of interest of UC Berkeley students or the bears themselves, as it put everyone involved at risk of harm. Due to obvious reasons, we had no other choice than to rate this “version” of Oski at a zero out of 10.
1940-1950s Oski: RATE 8/10
Although the first version of our beloved Oski looks straight out of a season of “American Horror Story,” we cannot help the fact that there is some sort of appeal and aesthetic about this Oski! The very smiley expression on Oski’s face along with the added buck teeth peeking through the mouth just seems, oddly enough, friendly and intriguing. In addition, this version of Oski during this time period came with different mascot heads adorned with different facial expressions, from very smiley and small-eyed to a little less smiley with huge, wide eyes. The versatility of this phase of Oski is the reason why we have decided that this version of Oski deserves an eight out of 10.
1960s-1970s Oski: RATE 3/10
This phase of Oski’s transformation can be seen as very similar to the Oski we have today, just without the fur. We must admit that without the fur, Oski really does look extremely aged and worn out, which is a familiar feeling to all current and former UC Berkeley students. Although this version of Oski is somewhat relatable, we still cannot ignore the fact that the fur does make a huge difference because Oski does not look as cuddly or comforting as the Oski of today. Along with this, we also get an odd vibe from this version of Oski. We aren’t too sure about what the reason is, but there definitely are some weird, ominous feelings present when looking at or thinking about this hard-shelled version of Oski.
Oski Now: RATE 10/10
We literally love to see it. Oski’s presence truly brightens up the room and gives us such an immediate rush of pride and love for our school. UC Berkeley itself, along with the students and culture, would definitely not be the same without our favorite Golden Bear. No matter how much you claim that Oski “creeps you out,” can you really imagine your time at UC Berkeley without seeing Oski randomly skip-walk throughout campus in the middle of the day or drink suspicious liquids through the eye holes at tailgates? Yeah, we didn’t think so!
From Oski then to Oski now, UC Berkeley’s favorite Golden Bear really embodies what our campus culture and students are about. It’s more than safe to say that homecoming and UC Berkeley in general would not be the same without Oski. We hope that during this homecoming season, you learn to appreciate and love Oski a little more for all that they contribute to our lives and to the greater good of California and the UC system.
Joyce Cam is the special issues editor. Contact Joyce at [email protected].